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Archbishop Ferdinand was the son of Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria. He was raised by Jesuits and studied in Ingolstadt and Rome. He owned many canon's benefices and provost's districts and after 1595 he was his uncle Ernst's Coadjutor in Cologne. He was one of the most important bishops of the Catholic Reformation in Cologne. Like other territorial rulers of the time, Ferdinand fell prey to the witch hysteria which reached its high point in the Electorate of Cologne under his rule. In 1615 he founded the Seminary. For the bones of the Holy Archbishop Engelbert he commissioned an exquisite shrine.
Resting place: Cologne Cathedral, in front of the Chapel of the Three Holy Kings.